Danny Boyle's Yesterday is about a world where everyone in the world aside from one man (Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel) has forgotten who The Beatles are. Upon this discovery, the musician starts playing their songs as if they are his own, and his journey to becoming a rockstar riddled with guilt begins.
But before the film came into fruition, its director made sure the Fab Four's remaining survivors and widows were okay with Richard Curtis' screenplay.
“Once I got involved, I wrote letters to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the two widows, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono, respectfully laying out what I intended to do with the film,” Boyle told Billboard in an interview. “There’s obviously going to be nerves that somebody could be triggered or upset. But I got really lovely letters from Ringo and Olivia. I can’t talk about it except to say it was very special for me.”
After receiving that green light, there was the matter of securing permission to use The Beatles' music in the project, which added an estimated $10 million to production costs. "Before I signed on, Curtis and Working Title [the film’s British production company] had negotiated with the aesthetic and financial guardians of The Beatles: Apple Records [the label The Beatles founded in 1968] and [Sony/ATV Music Publishing], respectively," he explained. "Apple and Sony are very picky about not only who uses the band’s music but how it is used. Working Title did that first because there’s no point in spending money on a film likeYesterday unless you can guarantee you’ve got the music. It made for a top-heavy budget — the costs for the songs were very expensive, a substantial part of the film’s budget. But they made a clever deal, allowing us the freedom to change songs up to the last minute."
Yesterday hits theaters on June 28. Watch its below.